As consumers, we tend to focus on how virtual reality will work in our homes — the new types of games it allows, the insane 360-degree cinematic experiences, etc.
Some of VR’s greatest potential, though, lays not at home, but in the classroom. Hell, you can boil VR’s potential as a learning tool into just three little words: Magic. Friggin’. Schoolbus. Think shared group experience in impossible places led by an instructor and bam: it all makes sense.
Discovr Labs, a Disrupt SF Battlefield 2015 company, is taking the first steps to bring it into the classroom.
Discovr Labs has built an interface and technology to help teachers use VR as a teaching tool. After the student straps on their headset, Discovr allows the teacher to select which module the student is interacting with, and to see exactly what the student sees; everything from the headset is beamed, wirelessly, to an all-seeing interface.
Where the student may see something like this in their headset:
The teacher would see something like this on their monitor:
Discovr is focusing on lesson plans for specific, highly skilled trades at first — namely, health care and medication. They bring in field experts to help them build lessons focusing on topics their customers are asking for, then license these out to schools and businesses.
Discovr CEO Josh Maldonado walked me through one such experience: an app meant to help train hospital staff on how to prioritize in-bound patients through the severity of their injuries along with more subtle cues like respiratory rate and body language.
After I donned a Samsung Galaxy Gear VR , a series of patients appeared rapid fire in my view. I had to quickly gauge the condition of each, ranking them from 1-4 (with 4 being most severe) by glancing at the appropriate number floating near the patient and tapping the Gear’s built-in touch pad.
Maldonado, meanwhile, was able to help me in real time; everything I saw, he saw, with the Galaxy Gear VR beaming everything from my headset to his laptop.
For now, Discovr is focusing on a local experience, with all of the students being in the same room as the teacher. Moving forward, they envision remote experiences where students and their teachers can come together in VR experiences regardless of their physical location.
Discovr Labs was founded by Maldonado in Toronto, Canada; they’ve only raised a small seed round to date, with investment from Rothernberg Ventures’ Virtual Reality accelerator.